PYONGYANG: North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression as a US Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific.
President Donald Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its neighbour, said in a Tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.
Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test and after Washington said at the weekend it was diverting the aircraft carrier strike group Carl Vinson toward the region in a show of force.
US officials have stressed that stronger sanctions are the most likely US course to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme, but Washington has said all options — including military ones — are on the table. It said a US strike last week against Syria should serve as a warning to Pyongyang.
North Korea said it was prepared to respond to any US aggression.
“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the US invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the US mainland,” its official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump had put North Korea “clearly on notice” he would not tolerate certain actions, but dismissed Pyongyang’s nuclear attack threat.
“I think there is no evidence that North Korea has that capability at this time,” he said. “Threatening something that you don’t have the capability of isn’t really a threat.”
North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries.